Restorative dentistry, pediatric dentistry, periodontology, oral surgery and clinical diagnosis are just a few of the subjects dental school professors teach each year, and it’s no small undertaking. They must ensure all students are completely capable of providing quality dental care to everyone who sits in the dentist’s chair. Because of this, professors of dentistry often earn six-figure salaries.
In 2012, health specialties professors earned an average of $100,370 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners made more than $187,199, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $38,060 annually. But these figures include the salaries not only of dentistry professors but also of those teaching public health, pharmacy and laboratory technology, among others.
A 2010 survey by the American Dental Education Association provides a better idea of what dentistry professors earn in a year. Those in full professorship positions averaged $130,681 annually. Associate professors in dentistry earned an average of $102,611, while assistant professors averaged salaries of almost $88,200.
Subject matter also has a way of affecting salaries. For example, dentistry professors in research earned the highest wages, at a median of $132,477 annually. Those in behavioral science, such as teaching patient care, practice management or dental ethics, earned closer to $120,559, reports the ADEA. Associate professors in research made $100,000, while those in basic science earned $91,075.
Salaries for dentistry professors tend to be the highest in the Northeast, where professors in research earned $161,335 a year. The lowest salaries were in the West, with professors in research earning closer to $95,000 annually, notes the ADEA. Associate professors in research earned $113, 850 in the Northeast and almost $90,000 in the West.
The BLS expects employment for all postsecondary teachers to grow by 17 percent through 2020. This is slightly faster than the average growth rate for all U.S. occupations, an estimated 14 percent. In this relatively large field, 17 percent works out to the creation of almost 306,000 new jobs. Those retiring and leaving the field should create additional openings.